Background: Surgery and anaesthesia may account for postoperative complications including cognitive impairment. The purpose of the study was to assess the influence of general anaesthetics on children's memory and effectiveness of piracetam for prevention of postoperative cognitive dysfunction.
Methods: The study included patients receiving different kinds of anaesthesia for various surgical procedures, randomly allocated to two groups. According to immediate postoperative treatment, the study group received intravenous piracetam 30 mg kg(-1) and the control group--placebo. The cognitive functions were examined preoperatively and within 10 consecutive postoperative days using the ten-word memory test.
Results: The study group consisted of 123 children, the control one--of 127. Declines in memory indexes were observed in all anaesthetized patients. The most injured function was long-term memory. The intravenous administration of piracetam improved this cognitive function.
Conclusions: The study results confirm that general anaesthesia affects the memory function in children. Piracetam is effective for prevention of postoperative cognitive dysfunction after anaesthesia.